On June 23, voters across the country will decide on the future of our relationship with the European Union. This is a crucial moment in our nation’s history and I’m convinced that we are better off in the EU.
The European Union is the UK’s largest trading partner and the world’s largest single market. Today, over half of everything we sell to the rest of the world we sell to Europe, with our exports to the EU worth over £220 billion per year. This is part of what makes Britain an attractive destination for business and the reason why over 350,000 jobs in the North West alone are linked directly to the European Union.
Take for example Siemens, a major employer at their headquarters in my constituency of Manchester Withington. In a statement in favour of remaining, they praised the EU for providing 'tariff-free access to the UK's biggest export market; a common set of rules between 28 countries that reduces business costs; and access for British businesses and universities to EU-wide innovation and research initiatives'. Global companies like Siemens choose to do business here because we offer a gateway to the European Union and all the benefits that brings.
Independent experts as diverse as the London School of Economics, the Bank of England and Unison have all warned that leaving the EU puts this investment and growth at risk. They warn of falling tax receipts, pressure on our currency resulting in higher prices, and lower productivity in the years to come. The vast majority of leading economists, most chief executives of major businesses, and independent experts think our economy is stronger because of our EU membership.
Falling tax receipts means less money around for public services like our NHS, as confirmed by NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens in his warning last month. Universities would face budget cuts from the loss of EU funding that enables our world-leading research to continue. Libraries, leisure centres, social workers and other local services would suffer as councils would be forced to make even more damaging reductions in spending.
Ultimately, it will be working people who suffer from the loss of jobs, investment and growth that leaving the EU would cause. For that reason, I am convinced that we are better off voting to stay in.
The deadline for registering to vote is June 7th, find out how to register here.